Telling people was hard. ‘You must be devastated.’ Women would look at me with a pitiful expression, gather me to their augmented bosoms, be ever mindful of their lipstick, and wait for me to break down weeping. I never did. I wasn’t tortured or tormented. I wished I could be – it would’ve made everyone else feel so much better. But I’d already had my crisis and wept my tears. I was ready to move on. I felt light.
But – I learned early on that I shouldn’t tell anyone I felt light. Most people don’t like to hear the truth. Most married people anyway. Most married, for at least eighteen years, people. I spoke about two partners growing apart, having little in common and losing passion. People listened to me, nodded their heads, and fled. I was describing their lives. Boom, bang, bye-bye, gone in a puff of smoke.
I spoke about my children, and how it wasn’t all that bad. Because, in truth, my children were not devastated. Teenagers are selfish. As long as they are loved and have their needs cared for, they don’t much care where they are or who they are with. Their lives were not changing that much, they still had their rugby, ballet, iPads and xBox. Their devastation was short lived.
My mother was, of course, completely devastated, but she is devastated if her daughters don’t wear matching twin sets. She is devastated if one is slightly overweight, if a haircut isn’t tidy, and if her grandchildren don’t get straight A’s. I have been devastating my mother for the last 50 years. Men reacted differently. One was even honest. He told me he had tried to do what I did, but just couldn’t leave his wife. Or hurt his kids. I understood that. It took me a long time to do it. Some can. Some can’t. Some need to. I also remember him saying to me… ‘What do you think, woman? You’re forty! You’re not going to date. Not going to meet anyone else…’ Pah.
I had one friend in Nelspruit. A really FAT one. I didn’t hear from her, and felt I should email her to give her my news. ‘Hi Josephine. Sure you’ve heard by now, but X and I have separated. Hardest thing I’ve ever done, but we’re all coping well. I’m in the house, X’s moved to Hanover Park, the kids split their time, the arrangement is good, we’re friendly…’ She replied with three sentences. ‘Quite a selfish thing to do. Hope it works for you. Bye’ .
Maybe that’s just two sentences. Who cares? She’s so fat her fingers probably hit too many keys at the same time. She was a good friend. Well, she used to be. Did I mention she was fat. Fat. Huge. Humungous. Disgusting. And that her husband was always having affairs and walked out on her a year later. Shame hey.
So when friends looked at me with ‘that knowing look’ and told me how sorry they were, they seemed shocked when I said – ‘I’m sad for the kids. Sad for X. But I’m really happy that I’ve done this…’ If you tell the truth, and say – I got bored, my husband didn’t turn me on anymore, I hated the way he chewed – people will judge you. But actually they will judge you no matter what. So tell them anything you want. Those that love you, will love you, and support you throughout. And really it had nothing to do with the way he chewed. It was that we had fallen out of love a long time ago. Simple. One would think.
Things I thought about when I left my husband.
The dreaded phone call to my Mother
What would my siblings say?
Who would get the television?
That Supersport would not have to be on, 24/7, full volume.
Undisturbed masturbation .
That I would never again have to tell him he has egg yolk on his beard.
And how delicious it would be to have sex with someone new
Things I Didn’t Think About When I Left My Husband
My mother’s raised eyebrows.
Not having any money.
Not knowing how to fix a television.
How quiet it could be.
I would never have time to masturbate.
That other men would have egg yolk on their beards
. And it would be very fucking scary to have sex with someone new.